Nick Malcolm Quartet – tour reviews


Had a really fun mini-tour with the Nick Malcolm Quartet this weekend – playing the Bebop Club in Bristol (with the incredible Corey Mwamba depping for Alex Hawkins), Sherbourne Jazz, The Coronation Tap in Bristol again, and then back to London, the the Oxford in Kentish Town (with Josh Arceleo guesting on tenor).  We’re playing quite a bit of new material which we’ll be recording in May, for the band’s 2nd album.

here’s a couple of reviews of the Bebop Club gig:

Tony Benjamin in This is Somerset:  “SOMETIMES even the most chin-stroking jazz audience wants to have a bit of fun.

The trick is to keep up the standards of intelligent contemporary jazz but to imbue the music with energy and a sense of humour and Saturday’s acoustic set at the Bebop Club from Nick Malcolm’s band pulled it off time and again.

The four musicians – Malcolm’s trumpet plus Corey Mwamba (vibraphone), Olie Brice (bass) and Mark Whitlam (drums) – are well-matched improvisers with an easy confidence in their abilities, while the music is mostly drawn from the band’s recently released CD of Malcolm’s tunes Glimmers plus a few of Brice’s compositions.

It was largely about group improvisation, though individuals shine out at times and occasional solos and duos emerge.

The jump-cut structure and angular melody of It’s All Right, We’re Going to the Zoo makes for a breezy opener and gave Mwamba the first opportunity to demonstrate his capacity for co-ordinated frenzy on the vibes.

Brice’s Mad Yak rolled out cool and jazzy, the players mixing and matching, flashing glances and grins between themselves.

There was a bigger picture to Views, a beautiful stream of consciousness melody revelling in Malcolm’s superb tone and technical control, while washes of held vibraphone chords and sympathetic bass created a strong sense of atmosphere, aided by Whitlam’s deft and beatless percussion.

But, slow or fast, every number had the same energising qualities that reflected the fun the band had revisiting these tunes passed on to the audience as enjoyment in the music and, ironically, a sense of just how seriously good this lot are”.

and from the Mainly Jazz in Bristol blog:

“Finally, we went down to the BeBop club on Friday to hear what Nick Malcolm is up to with his quartet. Not of lot of bebop, but lots of interesting new music, is the answer – there’s a new CD set for recording in May which will be a cracker. As on previous outings, the general approach is freebop, with solo inspiration depending crucially on melodic ideas. The themes are getting quite elaborate. Malcolm has not exactly taken a vow to eschew more familiar intervals but he certainly emphasises the other kind, They sound pretty tricky to play. The neatly arranged endings  of several debut pieces here evoked the smiles of relief of musicians who have just successfully negotiated the rapids for the first time. Strong material, from the leader and Olie Brice on bass, and excellent playing from everyone, especially the mercurial Corey Mwamba on vibes, making a welcome return visit. This quartet go beyond the familiar routine of head and solos – which is still rewarding in the right hands but can easily seem merely routine nowadays – to explore music which puts a premium on real, high risk improvisation. Most of the time, they bring it off splendidly. They’ll be energising the free stage at the Bristol Jazz and Blues Fest in a few weeks, so if you missed them, and the turnout was a little thinner than some recent BeBop evenings, come on down to Colston Hall then”.



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